Mel Tucker Has Colorado Off to an Even Better Start Than It Appears

Tully Corcoran

Rick Neuheisel was the last Colorado coach to win the first three games of his CU career, when beat Wisconsin, Colorado State, Louisiana-Monroe, Texas A&M and Oklahoma to start the 1995 season. 

So as goofy as it may sound, Mel Tucker is on the verge of something vaguely historic heading into this week's game against Air Force, which is 1-0 after a 48-7 win over Colgate.

The Buffaloes are a three-point favorite and if that holds Tucker will have the Buffaloes in the mix for a Top 25 ranking thanks to a blowout of Colorado State and a thrilling comeback win over No. 25 Nebraska. 

(It's worth questioning why Nebraska was ranked in the first place, given the Cornhuskers were coming off a 4-8 season, but ranked they were, so it counts just the same for CU).

This is awfully early to be talking like this, but I think anybody who watched  Saturday's game saw a team that found its juice. The Buffaloes are going to be physical, they're going to be tough -- but they're going to be bold. 

The flea-flicker call from the Colorado 4-yard line was the gustiest call in college football so far this year. (Do I have any actual idea if that's true? No, but you get my point). I don't think I have ever seen a flea-flicker executed from inside the offensive team's own end zone, but Colorado needed a big play, and the resulting touchdown changed the whole game. Suddenly, a CU offense that had been trudging along became the explosive unit we saw last week and most of last year. 

Nebraska's defense had been the faster, more aggressive unit in the first half, but it was like the flea flicker made something click inside the hearts of the Buffaloes. When Nebraska scored on a.huge play of its own on the ensuing possession, CU quarterback Steven Montez was heard on the sideline saying, "we'll score again."

And, of course, they did. 

Coming into the season, this was a heavily shat-upon team picked to finish at the bottom of the Pac-12. The win over CSU was impressive in some ways, but the defense looked awful and nobody came away from it feeling that great about the season. 

But that can change fast, and something tells me it already has.